VX Predictions: Week 13 - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

VX Predictions: Week 13

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Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010 5:50 pm | Updated: 3:32 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

No. 8 Mesquite at No. 1 Hamilton:  Most figure this to be just another ho-hum stop on the Hamilton Express toward state championship No. 3 in three years, and it might, but there’s no way Mesquite isn’t going out without laying some wood to the Huskies. The Wildcats are tough and physical on defense, have an explosive running back in Anthony Lopez, a real two-way threat in R.J. Rickert, good special teams and one of the best coaches in Mike Reardon. The Huskies are bigger, faster and more talented, and that may win out in the end, but no start-to-finish blowout here. Not by a long shot.

Prediction:  Hamilton 27, Mesquite 14

— Mark Heller

No. 6 Salpointe Catholic at No. 3 Desert Vista:  Just how good is Salpointe? Hard to say. The Lancers’ lone loss this season was to Hamilton, 31-14, and 12 of those 14 points were scored late in the fourth quarter against the backup Huskies. Salpointe’s size up front destroyed St. Mary’s in Tucson last week with nearly 500 yards of total offense (a near 50-50 splite between passing and running) and no turnovers. Otherwise, the Lancers haven’t played anyone else north of Casa Grande this season, and host-Desert Vista (which beat St. Mary’s in overtime early this season) has been sharp defensively. Can Salpointe do it again on offense and slow down the Thunder’s speed running the ball? Usually the bigger Tucson schools have struggled against the Valley, but we’re going out on a limb (a little), and the Thunder’s magnificent season stops rumbling here.

Prediction:  Salpointe Catholic 20, Desert Vista 17

— Mark Heller

No. 15 Gilbert at No.10 Desert Ridge:  The Tigers pulled off the biggest upset of the first round when they surprised No. 2 seed Basha on the road. Gilbert started the season 3-6 but has won three straight games since. Desert Ridge is also playing well after transforming its offense from an air attack to the ground after an injury to quarterback Parker Rasmussen. The Jaguars ran wild on Chandler last week, but Gilbert is undoubtedly studying that tape hard to figure out ways to slow down Desert Ridge. The question is, can the Tigers do it?

Prediction:  Desert Ridge 27, Gilbert 17.

— Kyle Odegard

No. 6 Marcos de Niza at No. 3 Centennial:  Last year, no one really gave the Padres a chance against Centennial, and they pulled off the 16-14 victory in the 5A-II semifinals. They are still underdogs in this one, but are a more fashionable pick to pull the upset. A lot depends on the Marcos de Niza defense, which must slow down the speedy Coyotes skill players. If Centennial can run at will, Marcos de Niza will have a hard time keeping up. Marcos should be able to score if running back Anthony Shivers (knee) is healthy and quarterback Tommy Thornton plays well, so this game could be higher scoring than last year’s affair.

Prediction:  Centennial 31, Marcos de Niza 17.

— Kyle Odegard

No. 6 Mingus at No. 3 Notre Dame:  Last time these two traditionally strong programs, it was 2008 and Notre Dame squashed Mingus, 52-16, en route to the 4A-II state championship. That won’t be much of a reference point, but the Marauders have lost to a 4A-I school in Apache Junction (34-7) and a couple weeks later to Peoria Liberty (34-20). The Saints’ defense has been up to the task nearly every week this season, and Mingus’ running game will be tough with Kevin Webb and two-way standout Juan Gonzalez (1,300 combined yards). Ronald Morones has been solid and efficient in the passing game to prevent teams from selling out against Mingus’ running game, but the Saints’ offense is better with the Jones’ boys (Kodey and Korey) and Jordan Gehrke is one of the best QB in all of 4A. A Williams Field-Notre Dame rematch awaits.

Prediction:  Notre Dame 34, Mingus 21

— Mark Heller

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